Precisely coloring and flavoring fondant can be one of the most challenging aspects of cake decorating. Achieving the perfect shade for each fondant piece you include is critical in order to tie the entire cake together. If one color is to bright, dark or monotone, the finished cake can fall tremendously short of its potential.

The following is an instructional article on how to achieve the perfect color for your cake, courtesy of Wilton.

Tint a small ball or enough fondant to cover a whole cake. As with any icing, tint colors at one time; matching colors later may be difficult. Add just a little of the concentrated icing color at a time, until you arrive at the exact shade you want. If you'd rather not mix color yourself, use pre-tinted fondant in a variety of pastel, primary, neon and natural shades.

Step 1: Add Dots of Color
Roll fondant into a ball, kneading until it's soft and pliable. Using a toothpick, add dots of icing color or drops of flavor in several places.

Step 2: Knead color
Knead color or flavor into your fondant ball. We suggest using food-safe gloves when coloring fondant to keep your hands stain-free.

Step 3: Knead Until Blended
Continue kneading until color is evenly blended; add a little more color or flavor if needed.

Color Tips
Deep colors: When making deep colors, such as black, brown, or red use Wilton paste food colors in larger amounts than normal. It can take as much as 1 oz of paste food color per one cup to obtain deep colors. Deep colors are recommended for accent colors only.

Fading colors: Sunlight or fluorescent light will cause some colors to fade. After the cake is decorated, it is best to keep in a cool room and out of direct light.

Stain removal: All deep colors in nature stain, but none of them are harmful. Paste colors can stain teeth and skin; however, simply washing skin area with soap and warm water will remove color. Use bleach to remove color from counter tops. Rinse thoroughly, allow to dry. If color is still visible use a commercial cleaner on garment, carpet, upholstery, etc. In the case of a color that has Red 3 as an ingredient use an acid such as vinegar or lemon juice to soak stain first. Proceed with lukewarm water and then allow to dry before using a commercial cleaner.

Notes About Wilton Paste Colors

There are three different reds - Christmas Red; Red-Red, an orange-toned red; and Red-No Taste, a blue-toned red.

It can take as much as 1 oz of red paste color per one cup of icing to get a deep red.

When using Red 3 for deep color, a bitter aftertaste may be detected. Red No-Taste should be used when a large portion of red coloring is used on the cake.

Leaf Green is a brighter green with more yellow than Kelly Green. Both of these greens require very little color; how much color added depends on the tone of the green you want.

Hot Pink
Rose paste color will obtain hot pink with good results. Rose Petal is a soft, muted rose color. Pink is a traditional pastel with a slight yellow tone.

Royal Blue has a red tone. Sky Blue has a yellow tone.

Daffodil Yellow
Daffodil Yellow is an all natural food coloring and does not contain Yellow #5 (Many people are allergic to this). Daffodil Yellow currently contains alcohol which is not present in other colors.

When white buttercream is tinted deep black, it also can have a bitter taste. Use dark chocolate icing with a small amount of black color added.

Brown color occasionally has a green overtone to it. This usually occurs with the presence of acid in the icing: lemon juice or cream of tartar. Omit the acid if tinting icing brown. Also dissolving brown color in ¼ tsp water before adding to icing will eliminate the green tone.

White-white is used for lightening icing that has been colored too dark. Also use it for making white buttercream made with butter or margarine.